"What is your most precious treasure?"
"Nobuta." Both of them said at once.
Confused you look from Shuji to Akira (pun intended) and back again.
"Why 'Nobuta'?" You ask.
"Why not each other?"
Now it's their turn to blink.
Confused they stare at you, then at each other and back to you.
"Because..." Shuji starts, but stops and tries searching for words that aren't able to express what both of them know by heart.
"Because Shuji to Akira are two halves of an entire being." Akira said simply.
"That's what Nobuta said."
Shuji nods, relieved that Akira said what he couldn't.
Neither of them said anything anymore.
And they did not need to.
All was being said in that one sentence.
'Two halves of an entire being.'
They did not consider each other as their most priced treasure because they saw each other as part of themselves and most people did not consider themselves as the most important after all, but rather their loved ones.
Friends. Family. Lovers.
But the two of them were not family, not just friends, more than mere lovers.
They were one.
Shuji could not live without Akira and Akira could not live without Shuji.
Without Shuji Akira would cease to exist, because the only one who would put up with each and every quirk of Akira and accepted every single one wholeheartedly was Shuji.
Shuji was his connection to the rest of the world who was not able to see past the flapping arms, the kon-kons and the obsession with soymilk.
Without Shuji there would be no one left in the world to understand him. Not his father, not the tofu man, not even Nobuta who was just as socially dysfunctional as he was.
Without Akira Shuji would retreat into the darkness where he was only able to face other people while wearing a mask.
A darkness where he wasn't able to open up, to drop his mask, to show his feelings and let people see his vulnerable side.
Without Akira Shuji would go back to being the loneliest person in the biggest crowd.
Because the only one who was not even once fooled by the mask, the only one who ever fully understood Shuji and gave him what he needed, was Akira.
Shuji to Akira are to halves of an entire being.
It was as simple as that.
And Nobuta brought these two halves together.
That's why they were finally able to breath.
That's why she was the most precious to them.
"I get it." You said.
It had been obvious all along.